Tag Archives: creativity

Critical Design Thinking

Full-day workshop • April 16th
Entrepreneurial success relies on approaching problems with a creative mind and critical eye. This workshop is designed to teach participants multiple tactics for creative and critical thinking in a fast­paced, adaptive, and agile environment, with a focus on communication.
Communication styles vary between people of different areas of expertise, personality types, educational backgrounds, and job functions present unique business challenges, especially in start­up environments. Creative and critical conversations are often driving by passion.

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Critical Design Thinking

Smart Responsive UX Design Patterns

Full-day workshop • April 16th
In this brand new workshop, Vitaly Friedman will cover practical techniques, clever tricks and useful strategies you need to be aware of when working on responsive websites. From responsive modules to clever navigation patterns and web form design techniques; the workshop will provide you with everything you need to know today to start designing better responsive experiences tomorrow.
Most techniques are borrowed from mid-size and large-scale real-life projects, such as large eCommerce projects, online magazines and web applications.

See the article here:

Smart Responsive UX Design Patterns

11 Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by The Delight Equation

I admit it. I’m a geek. Or am I a nerd? Definitely not a dweeb, but probably a keener (that’s a Canadian term).

One of my favorite things to do (as a marketer) is to reverse-engineer marketing experiences – good and bad – to define an equation that can be used to score them. It’s primarily a heuristic exercise, but I find it’s an incredibly helpful way to analyze a design, especially when it has the ability to leave you with a simple checklist of things to consider to make it better.

In the past, I’ve created The Clarity Equation (for value propositions), and The Testimonial Equation (for customer social proof).

For today’s post, I focused on popup design examples that exude positive characteristics, to create The Popup Delight Equation.

What Makes a Popup Design Delightful?

Hands up if you thought “That’s an oxymoron.”? I know, I know, how can a popup be delightful? Well, just like any other aspect of marketing and web design, it’s all about the details, and finding those magical ways of combining what makes your brand special, with a dose of responsible interaction design.

I see delightful popups all the time, usually because the copy is hilarious, or the design is surprising.

If your perception of a popup is one of those ugly WordPress template type things with three big green checkmark bullet icons (see below), and a Johnson box (those fat dashed red lines that resemble a coupon cutout), then no, that’s not delightful. That’s just shitty.

It is possible to make a popup delightful, and it’s not that hard if you know which aspects of interaction and visual design are required to do it right. Which brings me to…

The Popup Delight Equation

The equation (shown in the image at the top of the post) is broken down into 7 principles; Clarity, Control, Creativity, Relevance, Charm, Value, & Respect.

Each principle has a few checklist questions that build up a score between 0 and 1 (you can choose 0.5 for any of them if you like) for a maximum score of 7. These are then combined and turned into an overall percentage score as shown below:

EXAMPLE POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 57%

I’ll explain each of the delight principles, and then I’ll get to the popup designs.
(skip to the examples)

Principle #1 – Clarity

The clarity principle represents how easy it is to understand the offer presented by the popup. First, there’s the immediacy factor, can you read and understand it very quickly. The second part concerns the use of a primary “hero” image and whether it helps or hinders visual communication.

Clarity = ( Immediacy + Hero ) / 2
Immediacy Can you explain what the offer is after looking at it for only five seconds? Yes 1, No 0
Hero Is there a primary image (not a logo) that shows what you will get (or who you will get it from)? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a generic site-wide offer like a discount that doesn’t need an image, score 1.

Principle #2 – Control

The control principle represents a visitor’s ability to fully control the experience. This includes being able to easily accept, reject, or discard the interruption.

Control = ( Close [On] + Close [Out] + Close [Esc] + Continue + Cancel ) / 5
Close [On] Is there a close button (typically an x) on the popup? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a fullscreen “Welcome Mat” you can take a 1 here unless there’s no “No thanks” button.
Close [Out] Does the popup close if you click on the background surrounding it? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s a fullscreen “Welcome Mat” you can take a 1 here.
Close [Esc] Does the popup close if you press the escape button on your keyboard? Yes 1, No 0
Continue Is it clear what you need to click in order to accept the offer? Yes 1, No 0
Cancel Is it clear what you need to click in order to decline the offer? (Score 1 if there’s only one option) Yes 1, No 0

Principle #3 – Creativity

Like any type of marketing communications, a creative popup will be more likely to be well received. This principle is comprised of visual design esthetic, the inclusion of (non-tacky) animation, and how on-brand it is.

Creativity = ( Design + Animation + Brand ) / 3
Visual Design Esthetic Is it unique looking (non-rectangle), or just look awesome to you (some subjectivity is okay here)? Yes 1, No 0
Animation Does it include some motion as it appears that makes it more noticable. Yes 1, No 0.5, Yes, but it’s annoying 0
On Brand Does it match the site’s design or look like a cheap template that could be from any site? Yes 1, No 0

Principle #4 – Relevance

A popup that isn’t highly relevant will convert poorly and moves you closer to the wrong end of the interruption spectrum. This principle includes congruence (how aligned the offer is with the page you are visiting) and targeting.

Relevance = ( Congruence + Targeting ) / 2
Congruence Does the offer feel related to the page you’re on? Yes 1, No 0
If it’s somethng like a site-wide discount it’s a 1, but if it’s a blog subscribe popup on a homepage, product or pricing page etc. (not your blog), that’s a 0.
Targeting Score 1 unless one of these scenarios is true: it doesn’t apply to you (such as wrong country), or it’s referring to you coming from a page/partner/place that you didn’t come from (and in general if it’s making assumptions about you that are incorrect), in which case it’s a 0

Principle #5 – Charm

You know a charming marketing experience when you see one. Same goes for popups. If the design and/or copy make you laugh, or smile, or want to share it with someone, it’s a winner.

Charm = ( Smile [Design] + Smile [Copy] ) / 2
Smile [Design] Does the visual design make you smile? Yes 1, No 0
Smile [Copy] Does the copywriting make you smile? Yes 1, No 0

Principle #6 – Value

Some popups only contain information, some have a discount, others ask you for personal information in order to claim the offer. The value principle is concerned with how fair of an exchange it is, and it’s completely binary. If the reward is equal or greater than the ask/effort, you win.

Value = ( Reward >= Ask )
Reward > Ask Is the offer worth more than or equal to the requested information/effort? Yes 1, No 0
Score a 0 if it seems unfair, such as a ton of form fields for very little in return.

Principle #7 – Respect

The respect principle leans on the concept of “a responsible use of technology”. The biggest offense in this regard is the idea of “Confirm Shaming”. This is where there are two options (continue or cancel), but in order to cancel, you have to click a button/link with offensive copy – such as “I don’t like free money”. You get penalized extra for this offense.

Respect = 1 – 2*(Confirm Shaming)
Confirm Shaming If this is a two-button Accept/Decline popup, and the decline button is offensive in any way, it’s confirm-shaming. Yes 1, No 0
A 1 here results in a -1 score for principle 7.

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Brands Appearing in Today’s Popup Design Examples

Thanks to these awesome companies/people for inspiring me to include them: Tim Ferriss, Leesa, ClassPass, How-To Geek, Groupon, Tasting Table, Get Response, Lemonstand, PetSmart, Travelzoo.

Note: None of these popup designs score 100%

I’m sure you’ll like some, and dislike others. I’m including a wide variety of examples because they each show different aspects of the delight criteria.

Popup Design #1: Tim Ferriss

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.75 0.8 1 0.5 0.5 1 1 83%

Analysis

This fullscreen “Welcome Mat” popup takes over the screen when you’re leaving. I dislike this style when it happens when you arrive, but on exit, it’s totally cool. It’s a simple and classy design. Let’s score it!

  • CLARITY:
    I gave it 0.5 for immediacy as I had to figure out what the content was (fortunately I just bought a book about Seneca so I caught on). Having Tim in the background makes it very clear it’s coming from him.
  • CONTROL:
    The only failing here is the lack of the escape button working, which is my favourite way of dismissing a popup (I’m a big keyboard shortcut fan). It’s much faster than hunting for a close icon/button.
  • CREATIVITY:
    I love the design. It’s fresh and open. The visual hierarchy of the buttons is perfect: dominant continue, secondary cancel.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It loses out a bit on relevance, as it’s a speaker contact page, making this popup incongruent.
  • CHARM:
    Visually, yes. His authentic smile makes you feel welcome.
  • VALUE:
    It’s a 2-step opt-in form (email address if you click “Unlock”), which is a fair deal.
  • RESPECT:
    “No thanks, I’m not interested.” is great. It’s all you need to do on your cancel button. No confirm shaming here.

Popup Design #2: Leesa Mattress – Countdown Timer

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.83 1 0 1 1 80%

Analysis

There are so many mattress 2.0 companies out there now, it’s hard to tell them apart aside from the colour. This one’s really plain, and quite boring, but it does get bonus points for the countdown timer, and not breaking any of the fundamental delight rules.

  • CLARITY:
    Easy.
  • CONTROL:
    Full control.
  • CREATIVITY:
    It got it’s creativity 1/3 only for being on brand, but I added a 0.5 bonus for the countdown timer, which is a nice touch for ecommerce.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Timely and on point.
  • CHARM:
    Nah. They could do way more with the copy and the visuals are kinda bleh.
  • VALUE:
    Hard to argue with a discount.
  • RESPECT:
    No problems here.

Popup Design #3: Tasting Table

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 0.8 0.17 1 0 1 1 71%

Analysis

I like the use of a question headline in this popup. If you aren’t then you probably shouldn’t be on the site, so they’re helping to self select their ideal customer/subscriber. I’m not a foodie, however, so I’m closing it ;)

  • CLARITY:
    Get an email, about food. Easy.
  • CONTROL:
    No escape button close on this one either. Grrr.
  • CREATIVITY:
    It gets a few points for being on brand, but nothing original otherwise.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s food.
  • CHARM:
    Lots of potential, but doesn’t deliver.
  • VALUE:
    I was going to ding it for asking for a zipcode, but it probably increases the value so it get’s a pass.
  • RESPECT:
    Great.

Popup Design #4: Get Response

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.67 1 1 1 1 95%

Analysis

Simple and a bit weird (and basic) looking, but it rocks the scores beacuse it doesn’t break the fundamental delight rules, and adds some playfulness to stand out. Give it a little wiggle animation to go with that cute little alien thing and it would get a perfect score.

  • CLARITY:
    Pretty clear, and they get a few extra seconds of reading because it’s cute.
  • CONTROL:
    Full control.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Not the slickest design, but I think it’s got a lot of fun in it.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s SaaS, and this is for a free trial. Totally relevant.
  • CHARM:
    This one made me smile based on the copy and the design. Nicely done.
  • VALUE:
    It’s no different than clicking any other signup button on the site, so it’s regular ol’ fair.
  • RESPECT:
    Yes.

A quick contrast break…

Some pretty amazing score so far, and that’s because they’re doing it right. Before I continue, I just want to run one of the examples from yesterday’s “6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples” post through The Popup Delight Equation to provide some perspective.

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.5 0.6 0 0 0 0 1 30%

NOT delightful.

Popup Design #5: Groupon

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.75 0.4 0.67 1 0 1 1 69%

Analysis

  • CLARITY:
    I would’ve given it a higher score if there had been a photo of Vancouver in the popup, as it gives that immediate sense of locale.
  • CONTROL:
    Neither the escape key or clicking the background close the popup, which is really annoying when the “No thanks” link is so tiny. I dinged it extra for that.
  • CREATIVITY:
    This is what I’m referring to re: looking different from a shape perspective. Yes, it’s a circle and not a rectangle, but that’s the point. 99.999999% of popups are rectangles. So this simple change makes a world of difference. And the transparency allows lots of breathing room, and for it to not look like it’s completely shutting out the site.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Perfect.
  • CHARM:
    None.
  • VALUE:
    Hard to argue with deals.
  • RESPECT:
    Good job.

Popup Design #6: How-To Geek

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.17 1 0.25 1 1 77%

Analysis

I bet you didn’t expect a score like that. Which just goes to show that when you do some of the fundamentals correctly: it’s very clear, it’s easy to control, relevant, fair value, and respectful. It looks pretty awful, but that’s why it scores so poorly on creativity and charm. The fundamentals matter a lot. Get those right, and you can spend your time being exceptional.

  • CLARITY:
    Super obvious.
  • CONTROL:
    All functional.
  • CREATIVITY:
    On brand but nothing else positive from a creative standpoint.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Yup.
  • CHARM:
    I gave it a tiny bit cos of the nerdy logo guy.
  • VALUE:
    Standard newsletter value.
  • RESPECT:
    All good.

Popup Design #7: ClassPass

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
0.5 0.4 0.33 1 0 1 1 60%

Analysis

I thought this would do better when I first saw it, then after playing with the interaction it let me down a bit.

  • CLARITY:
    This is an entry popup, so the visuals are covered. Having a photo in the popup would help with the clarity around what kind of class they’re talking about for a first-time visitor.
  • CONTROL:
    no on, out or esc. The reason having no visible close button is undelightful is because it forces you to choose (and read) one of the buttons to close it. That’s too much effort when I’ve decided I want to get rid of it.
  • CREATIVITY:
    On brand, nothing else.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Yes.
  • CHARM:
    A bit cold.
  • VALUE:
    Without question.
  • RESPECT:
    Good job.

Popup Design #8: Lemonstand – Squishy Animation

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0.67 1 0.25 1 1 85%

Analysis

I stuck an animated GIF in for this one so you could see the animation. It’s a prety plain looking popup aside from that, but you can see how it does add that extra attention-grabbing effect.

  • CLARITY:
    Ebook with an image of a book. Done.
  • CONTROL:
    Full control.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Scores for animation and being on brand. Mix in a different shape or a design like a lemon stand for bonus points :D
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s on the blog, so full points.
  • CHARM:
    Only the squishy animation saves it here.
  • VALUE:
    Fair indeed.
  • RESPECT:
    No confirm shaming here.

Popup Design #9: PetSmart

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 1 0 1 0 1 1 71%

Analysis

Granted, this is the lamest of the bunch, but I included it because of its simplicity. Sometimes an offer is just an informative statement.

  • CLARITY:
    Crystal.
  • CONTROL:
    Complete.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Nope. Sorry.
  • RELEVANCE:
    It’s an ecommerce store. Yes.
  • CHARM:
    Nope. Add some kittens!
  • VALUE:
    Definitely.
  • RESPECT:
    All good.

Popup Design #10: Travelzoo << The worst!

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 0 0.67 1 0 0 -1 24%

Analysis

Looks sure can be deceiving. At first glance I really like this one. Then I started playing with it. And it became the worst popup of them all.

  • CLARITY:
    Yep, super clear with the photo of Ireland.
  • CONTROL:
    Can’t click the background to close. Oh, and wait, no matter what you do, IF you manage to close it you get turfed to the homepage. Horrible.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Minor points for the rounded corners.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Very.
  • CHARM:
    Started with zero, got worse from there.
  • VALUE:
    See respect, below.
  • RESPECT:
    Wow. If I were critiquing this solely on a screenshot, I’d have given them a 1 for respect. But I just tried to interact with it. If you close the popup (without signing up) it redirects you right back to the homepage. You can’t even see the deal. That’s seriously gnarly. Shoulda put this one in yesterday’s post.

Popup Design #11: Tim Ferriss

POPUP DELIGHT SCORE
CLARITY CONTROL CREATIVITY RELEVANCE CHARM VALUE RESPECT TOTAL
1 0.6 0.67 1 0.5 1 0.5 75%

Analysis

We close it out with another from Mr. Ferriss. It’s from the same page as the first one, but instead of being an exit popup, it’s triggered when you click a small banner that appears in the lower-left as you scroll down the page. Because it’s an on-click triggered popup, you typically get full points for relevance and clarity as you asked for it specifically.

  • CLARITY:
    Super clear
  • CONTROL:
    No escape key function, and the close (x) button doesn’t always show up.
  • CREATIVITY:
    Looks great,and on brand.
  • RELEVANCE:
    Perfect.
  • CHARM:
    As before, the friendly photo works.
  • VALUE:
    As expected.
  • RESPECT:
    Not quite as nice as the other one on the cancel link, so I’m dinging him a little.

Alrighty then, that’s a wrap for those 10 delightful popups, and one most certainly not delightful (Travelzoo) popup. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my ratings.

How Delightful are Your Popups?

I showed you mine, now show me yours! I hope you enjoyed learning about the delightful side of the website popup. I’d really love to see some of your popups, and how you score them, so drop a URL in the comments with your score and we can see if I agree.

Cheers
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

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11 Awesome Popup Design Examples – Scored by The Delight Equation

10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Relationships With Influencers

Influencers can be your long-term advocate and brand ambassadors. Spending even $1000 on influencers can yield amazing returns. You don’t want to kill your influencer relationships because of some overlooked or careless mistake. You can build invaluable relationships with your influencers that can be mutually beneficial. Truth be told: Relationships are fragile. When it comes to business, you have to maintain relationships with your partners, customers, and employees. Influencers are interesting people because they are your partners, customers, as well as employees. With your stringent timelines and busy schedule, you might lose track of your relationships with influencers. In an…

The post 10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Relationships With Influencers appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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10 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Relationships With Influencers

8 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

influencer

You’re going to start your very first influencer marketing campaign, and you want to make sure it’s a success. Or maybe you’ve executed a few campaigns before, and you want the next one to deliver better results. Either way, knowing how to manage your campaign effectively is crucial if you want influencer marketing to work for you. While it’s not always easy to manage influencer marketing campaigns, you’ll find it much easier if you remember the following steps: 1. Set Up a Goal You should always start with a defined goal, regardless of whether it’s influencer marketing or any other…

The post 8 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Influencer Marketing Campaign appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Continued – 

8 Things You Need to Know to Improve Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

Inspiring Illustrations With Plenty Of Bright Colors And Cool Patterns

It’s almost time to leave winter behind us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of the time, the weather can’t quite make up its mind, and so the days pass by with half of the sky sunny while the other half gray. Nature usually tends to have a strong impact on my mood, and so these days I feel like I’m literally in a gray zone — between winter and spring.

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Inspiring Illustrations With Plenty Of Bright Colors And Cool Patterns

Copy If You Can: Improving Your UI Design Skills With Copywork

There’s a technique for improving one’s user interface design skills that is the most efficient way I know of expanding one’s visual vocabulary but that I’ve rarely heard mentioned by digital designers.
What’s going on here?
I’m talking about copywork. Copywork is a technique that writers and painters have been using for centuries. It is the process of recreating an existing work as closely as possible in order to improve one’s skill.

Link:  

Copy If You Can: Improving Your UI Design Skills With Copywork

Disrupting the norm: 4 ways to tap into your team’s creativity

Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s easy to get stuck in a work routine.

To go to the office every Monday to Friday, use a particular set of skills, sit at the same desk, talk to the same team members, eat at the same lunch spot…

While routine can be a stabilizing force, it can also lead to stagnation and a lack of inspiration (a worrisome situation for any marketer).

Companies take great care to put structures in place to improve productivity and efficiency, but too often de-prioritize creativity. And yet, creativity is essential to driving innovation and competition—two vital components of business growth.

At WiderFunnel, we believe in the Zen Marketing mindset. This mindset recognizes that there is an intuitive, inspired, exploratory side to marketing that imagines potential insights, as well as a qualitative, logical, data-driven side that proves whether the insights really work.

In order to come up with the very best ideas to test, you must have room to get creative.

So, how can you make creativity a priority at your company?

Last month, the WiderFunnel team set out to answer that question for ourselves. We went on a retreat to one of British Columbia’s most beautiful islands, with the goal of learning how to better tap into and harness our creativity, as individuals and as a team.

creativity_setting
It’s hard to not be creative with a view like this.

We spent three days trying to unleash our creative sides, and the tactics we brought back to the office have had exciting effects! In this post, I’m going to share four strategies that we have put into practice at WiderFunnel to help our team get creative, that you can replicate in your company today.

As Jack London said,

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

An introduction to creativity

There are many ways to think about creativity, but for our purposes, let’s consider the two types of creativity: technical creativity and artistic creativity. The former refers to the creation of new theories, new technologies, and new ideas. The latter revolves around skills, technique, and self-expression.

As a company, we were focused on tapping into technical creativity on our retreat. One of the main elements of technical creativity is lateral thinking.

Your brain recognizes patterns: faces, language, handwriting. This is beneficial in that you can recognize an object or a situation very quickly (you see a can of Coke and you know exactly what it is without having to analyze it).

But, we can get stuck in our patterns. We think within patterns. We problem-solve within patterns. Often, the solutions we come up with are based on solutions we’ve already come up with to similar problems. And we do this without really knowing that our solutions belong to other patterns.

Lateral thinking techniques can help you bust out of this…well…pattern.

While structured, disciplined thinking is vital to making your products and services better, lateral thinking can help you come up with completely new concepts and unexpected solutions.

The following 4 tactics will help you think laterally at work, to find truly original solutions to problems.

1. Put on a different (thinking) hat

One of our first activities on the island was to break into groups and tackle an internal company challenge with the six thinking hats. Developed by Edward de Bono, the “six thinking hats” is a tool for group discussion and individual thinking.

The idea behind the six hats is that our brains think in distinct ways that we can deliberately challenge. Each hat represents a direction in which the brain can be challenged. When you ‘put on a different hat’, your brain will identify and bring into conscious thought certain aspects of the problem you’re trying to solve, according to your hat.

6-hats-creativity
The Six Thinking Hats.

None of these hats represent completely natural ways of thinking, but rather how some of us already represent the results of our thinking.

In our exercise, we began a discussion each wearing one of the six hats. As the conversation progressed, we were forced to switch hats and continue our discussion from entirely different perspectives. It was uncomfortable and challenging, but the different hats forced each of us to explore the problem in a way that was totally alien.

creativity_thinkinghats
Before we could have our discussion, we had to make our own thinking hats.
Our thinking cards.
Our thinking cards.

The outcome was exciting: people who are normally quiet were forced to manage a discussion, people who are normally incredulous were forced to be optimistic, people who are normally dreamers were forced to ask for facts…it opened up totally new doors within the discussion.

In WiderFunnel’s main meeting room, there are six cards that represent each of the six hats. Whenever I find myself stuck, dealing with a challenge I can’t seem to solve, I wander into that meeting room and try to tackle the problem ‘wearing each hat’. Disrupting my normal thinking patterns often leads to ‘A-ha!’ moments.

To encourage lateral thinking, you could: create something physical and tangible (cards, hats, etc.) that your team can utilize when they are stuck to challenge the ‘normal’ ways in which they think.

2. Solve puzzles (literally)

A man jumps out of a window of a 30-story building. He falls all the way to the ground and lands on solid concrete with nothing to cushion his fall, yet he is completely uninjured. How is this possible?

There are 20 birds on a fence. A woman shoots one of the birds. How many birds are left?

There is an egg carton holding a dozen eggs on a table. Twelve people take one egg each, but there is still one egg left in the carton. How?

During our retreat, we spent some time solving word problems just like these, in order to disrupt our day-to-day thinking patterns.

creativity_puzzle
A recently completed WiderFunnel puzzle!

Riddles like these challenge our brains because they are difficult to think through using straightforward logic. Instead, you have to think outside of the content within the puzzle and use your knowledge of language and experience to solve it.

Puzzles require you to use reasoning that is not immediately obvious, and involve ideas that you may not arrive at using traditional step-by-step logic.

When you are faced with a puzzle like one of the riddles above, your mind is forced to think critically about something you might otherwise dismiss or fail to understand completely.

The thinking involved in solving puzzles can be characterized as a blend of imaginative association and memory. It is this blend…that leads us to literally see the pattern or twist that a puzzle conceals. It is a kind of “clairvoyance” that typically provokes an Aha! effect.

– Marcel Danesai, Ph.D. in “Puzzles and the Brain

To encourage creative, critical thinking, you could: incorporate puzzles into your day-to-day. Email your team a word problem every morning, or set up a physical puzzle somewhere in your office, so that people can take puzzle breaks!

3. Unpack your assumptions

Often, when we are faced with a question or problem, we have already classified that question or problem by its perceived limitations or rules. For example, you have assumptions about your users (most likely backed by data!) about what they want and need, what their pain points are, etc.

But, these assumptions, even if they are correct, can sometimes blind you to other possibilities. Unpacking your assumptions involves examining all of your assumptions, and then flipping them upside down. This can be tough because our assumptions are often deeply ingrained.

On the island, WiderFunnel-ers listed out all of our assumptions about what our clients want. At the top of that list was an assumption about what every marketer wants: to increase ROI. When we flipped that assumption, however, we were left with a hypothetical situation in which our clients don’t care at all about ROI.

creativity_assumptions
Various WiderFunnel-ers unpacking their assumptions.

All of a sudden, we were asking questions about what we might be able to offer our clients that has nothing to do with increasing ROI. While this hypothetical is an extreme, it forced us to examine all of the other areas where we might be able to help our clients.

To encourage creative problem-solving, you could: advise your team to list out all of their assumptions about a problem, flip ‘em, and then look for the middle ground.

4. Think of the dumbest idea you possibly can

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

– Sylvia Plath

To wrap up day 1 of our retreat, we did an activity called Dumbest Idea First. We walked around in a circle in the sunshine, shouting out the dumbest ideas we could think of about how to encourage more creativity at WiderFunnel.

The circle was quiet at first. Because being dumb, sounding dumb, looking dumb is scary. But, after a few people yelled out some really, really dumb ideas, everyone got into it. We were all moving, and making ridiculous suggestions, and in the midst of it all, one person would shout out a gem of an idea.

For instance, someone suggested a ‘brainstorm bubble’: a safe space within the office where you can go when you’re stuck, and your co-workers can see you and join you in the bubble to help you brainstorm.

(We have since started doing this at the office and it has been awesome!)

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes limit myself during a brainstorm—I find myself trying to be creative while still being pragmatic.

But, when you give yourself permission to be dumb, all of a sudden the possibilities are endless. And I guarantee you will surprise yourself with the great ideas you stumble upon.

Encourage creativity by allowing yourself and your team time and space to be unapologetically dumb.

What are some of the strategies you use to keep things creative at your company? Have you tried or improved upon any of the aforementioned strategies? Let us know in the comments!

The post Disrupting the norm: 4 ways to tap into your team’s creativity appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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Disrupting the norm: 4 ways to tap into your team’s creativity

A Guide To Personal Side Projects

Personal side projects are a cornerstone of creative growth and discovery. While they might not always result in financial gain, the long-term benefits are often much more useful. Benefits such as personal growth, creative exploration and generation of professional opportunities are some of the reasons to engage in them.
In this article, we’ll explore these benefits, as well as learn how to decide on a project and how to effectively manage our time (using my recently launched project as an example).

View article – 

A Guide To Personal Side Projects

Lessons Learned From A First-Time Appreneur

There are over 2 million iOS apps and almost as many Android apps in the growing app economy. However, for every Flappy Bird app that gets lucky and goes viral, there are thousands of apps that take time and hard work to launch and persistence to maintain, grow and avoid the app graveyard. While we typically hear about overnight success stories, this article explores the more typical experience of an appreneur, or app entrepreneur.

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Lessons Learned From A First-Time Appreneur